Sunday, December 3, 2023

England call on youth for Hockey Pro League matches in USA

England women play matches in the FIH Pro League this weekend against the backdrop of star player omissions and a recently-concluded Euro Hockey League which continues to prosper.

England have travelled to the USA for a double header in North Carolina, while their European-based players won’t be playing, with the Hoofdklasse reaching the backend of the Dutch club season.

The Oranje recently took a second string to Pro League matches in India, while England’s star players will stay with their European clubs this weekend ahead of the Pro League swing in London over the summer.

For now, it means that there are several new faces on show at elite level as the national programme shuffles itself on the road to Paris 2024. The squad includes three players from England’s bronze medal-winning Junior World Cup squad who have been called up to the senior team.

The England junior captain Millie Giglio has been selected, along with Lorna Mackenzie and Vicki McCabe. Also included are Pippa Lock and Lily Walker.

Good news has also been signalled on the long-term injury front, with Tess Howard also travelling where she will continue her rehabilitation on the trip.

England have yet to accrue Pro League points after a brace of 5-2 defeats to Argentina, while India were awarded the points for the postponed matches in India earlier this month.

This year’s Pro League has yet to gather momentum given the sporadic matches and the clashes with the EHL and club hockey. It is one reason why FIH chiefs have revamped the format for next year.

This weekend, David Ralph’s team play two matches at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and action from both games will be on BT Sport:

Sat 23 Apr, 7pm UK time
USA v England

Sun 24 Apr, 7pm UK time
USA v England

Full squad:
Grace Balsdon – Hampstead & Westminster
Darcy Bourne – Surbiton
Esme Burge – Hampstead & Westminster
Fiona Crackles – Wimbledon
Millie Giglio – University of Birmingham
Olivia Hamilton – Loughborough Students
Sophie Hamilton – Surbiton
Sabbie Heesh (GK) – Surbiton
Holly Hunt – Hampstead & Westminster
Alex Malzer – East Grinstead
Lizzie Neal – Canterbury
Pippa Lock – University of Birmingham
Lorna Mackenzie – Loughborough University
Vicki McCabe – Team Bath Buccaneers
Hollie Pearne-Webb (C) – Wimbledon
Izzy Petter – Loughborough Students
Miriam Pritchard – Hampstead & Westminster
Ellie Rayer – East Grinstead
Martha Taylor – University of Exeter
Lily Walker – University of Birmingham
Laura Unsworth – East Grinstead

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